Liposuction has become a common cosmetic procedure to provide optimal fat loss results for patients with persistent “problem areas”. An effective treatment to slim and reshape the body, liposuction works by removing excess fat deposits and improving contours and proportion. It is not intended for weight loss or treatment for obesity, but rather to get rid of stubborn fat deposits not amenable by diet or exercise.
When it comes to long-term fat loss, liposuction has the distinct advantage over other noninvasive treatment options like Coolsculpting in that one treatment session, in the majority of times, is adequate to reduce the fat with a more consistent and predictable outcome.
And the really good news is that virtually anyone with unwanted fat can benefit from liposuction.
Liposuction can treat various areas of the body — most often several areas in just one procedure. The areas that can be treated are:
Each liposuction procedure is different depending on the body part, and ultimately, all procedures are uniquely tailored to each patient’s individual needs to promote the best possible results. In this article, we’ll discuss the areas of the body that are most commonly treated with liposuction and provide some brief background on considerations that surgeons must take when conducting each of these procedures.
Inner and Outer Thighs
The inner and outer thigh is a common area for liposuction, since fat extraction can provide a contoured, more youthful, more proportionate leg appearance for the patient. Despite this, leg liposuction is actually considered quite difficult. This is because the leg — especially the upper leg — has the lowest threshold for adverse contour irregularities. Therefore, judicial conservatism is the rule in terms of fat extraction.
On the inner thigh, the skin is generally thin and therefore less tolerant of aggressive volume reduction. It’s important to understand that the inner thigh is composed of anterior, medial, and posterior regions — and each of these regions needs to be addressed in order to achieve the best, most attractive outcome.
The outer thigh provides easy fat extraction — but don’t get “trapped” into taking too much off. This will lead to contour depression from over resection. To prevent this, a wedge in between the legs in a lateral position is used to offset the natural tendency to extract more fat than desired.
While the anterior (bicep) region of the arm isn’t typically treated with liposuction, the posterior (triceps) region is a common area for fat extraction. It’s important to treat the lateral upper arm by having the patient press the arm against their side to accentuate this region during marking. Also, a comprehensive understanding of the arm’s proper anatomy is of the utmost importance to avoid deep structures, i.e.: nerves, vessels, etc.
Back Bra Roll (BBR)
On the back bra roll region, the skin is very thick — many times thicker than that of the abdomen. With that said, it is important to recognize this anatomy and penetrate the full thickness of the skin before aspiration. Otherwise, it’ll lead to painful, bloody aspiration.
It’s also important to disrupt the tight skin banding of the BBR and waist junction to allow for better re–draping of the skin to improve its persistent “hang” that often exists even with aggressive fat extraction.
In various parts of the body, there exist “zones of adherence”. These are natural body boundaries that serve to separate different body zones, or groups of body parts. One such area is the “hip dip”, which separates the hip from the outer thigh. This is a common area for liposuction. It is important to recognize and respect the zones of natural adherence to further accentuate the preexisting contour dips.
The “banana roll” region, or the “under butt” — where the leg connects to the buttocks — is another area commonly treated with liposuction. However, conservative fat extraction is the universal rule for this region. Why? To avoid aesthetic pitfalls and contour irregularities like gluteal crease effacement — also known as “droopy butt”.
Like the BBR region, the “buffalo hump” region has thick skin. Again, understanding the anatomy of this area is important — especially because the spinal cord is underneath. For surgeons, it’s important to feather the circumference to ease the transition around the edges.
Typically, only the medial knee is treated with liposuction. Treatment of the anterior knee (right above the kneecap) can lead to skin overhang, which many consider very unsightly.
Liposuction is especially useful when treating the inner thighs to ease the transition to the knee region. Like the inner thigh, it’s important to treat the anterior, medial, and posterior knee region.
In most cases, ankle liposuction isn’t performed on its own. The calf or the complete lower leg are also often shaped to create more pleasing outcomes. While performing ankle or lower leg liposuction, it’s important is to ensure that overall proportion is correct and incision placement is strategic.
Dr. Anire Okpaku:
The most common areas that we do here at Sono Bello are the abs and waist, and the hips. And obviously, those are the most problematic areas for most people. In guys we do chest a lot, and in women we do inner and outer thighs a lot, as well as, the mid-upper back are also big areas that we do for women. Also with the women, we do a lot of, what we call the E/X, which is basically a mini tummy-tuck, which we do with local anesthesia, and patients are extremely comfortable when we do it and have excellent results.
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